My Encounter With Malaysia's 13th General Elections


Last weekend was the first time ever that I voted in the Malaysian General Elections. As a Malaysian, I felt that it was my duty to fulfill the simplest of tasks of just going to vote. I mean, if people can line up for hours for a scoop of ice cream, why can't they stand in line and vote?

As a first time voter, it was quite the experience to be able to see and feel the excitement and the buzz around the polling stations. This year's turnout was one of the highest at 80%, and I could see why. The buzz was especially high this year because of all the news and social media sharings which only livened up the people's gear for change.

I especially like the phrase "Anda Penentu Masa Depan Negara" or "You Determine Your Country's Future".

Waking up early in the morning has never been an easy task for me ever, but I somehow managed it. I didn't want to be stuck in a long line because I knew that many people were very, very excited to vote this year. It was to no surprise that I had to park almost a 5 minute walk away from the polling station, and line up with the other uncles, aunties and fellow young Malaysians alike. It was freaking 7.45am when I reached, and the line only showed how much the rakyat wanted the election.

That's the school there in the background.

The line itself was pretty long. One of the most amazing scenes I noticed was how all the voters lining up outside clapped and cheered whenever they saw a person walk out, proudly holding up his left index finger stained in a deep hue of blue. It was an amazing scene, very festive and joyful. Everyone was in high spirits, and I overheard some uncles describing this election as one of the highest turnouts in my polling station for the past 2 elections. A group of nice people were also going around giving out what I can only describe as finger 'condoms'; a single finger of plastic gloves, so that the ballot paper won't be smudged.

After 2 long hours of lining up (and tweeting, because I was bored), I finally cast my first ever vote. Contrary to what I read up from the Internet, the SPR officers were all very nice and helpful, giving out the ballot papers with a smile. There was no surly officer on duty (or rather, not in my saluran) and everything ran pretty smoothly. I don't know how to describe that feeling of voting, putting that ballot paper into the box. I did know that I walked out of the classroom with my head held high, left index finger stained in blue and wrapped up snugly in the finger 'condom'.

Finger condoms. Has a nice ring to it.

The final result was quite disappointing for me, with the accusations of electoral fraud, magical blackouts and other similarly silly situations. The political drama that played out in the past few days was something akin to a ticking time bomb (Chinese Tsunami and #ApaCinaMahu being the more popular ones). But I'm not here to harp on that here; I shall seethe alone. No, I'm sure that there are those who are more qualified to give their comments on the whole political fiasco going on right now. Just check your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Anyway, here's one of the issues which cropped up during the counting of votes. The magic blackout is something which is so hilariously silly, it defies all logical explanation. I tried channeling some of that magical chi into my unfinished and rapidly approaching due date assignments, and this video is what happened.


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